Linamar gifts $5M to Western University to support women in engineering
Oct. 16, 2017 - Women seeking to combine engineering and business degrees will receive a major boost at Western University, thanks to a $5-million gift from Linamar Corporation and the families that grew it from a one-lathe machine shop into a multi-billion-dollar global enterprise.
Linamar, CEO Linda Hasenfratz and her husband Ed Newton, and Linamar founder Frank Hasenfratz have invested $5 million to create the Linamar Scholarships for Women in Engineering and Business. The scholarships support up to 10 female students in the Western Engineering and Ivey Business School dual-degree program each year, providing half the cost of tuition and a guaranteed paid co-op placement and full-time job offer to graduating scholarship-holders.
“This is a great way to bring together the three things that mean a lot to me and to Linamar as a company: manufacturing, business and improved opportunities for women,” said Linda, who emphasized she hopes this will encourage more women to pursue a dual degree in engineering and business at Western. “Western has world-class engineering and business faculties — it’s the perfect combination to help develop this country’s next generation of women leaders.”
She said the advanced manufacturing sector needs people who understand the technical, financial, production and business aspects of industry. The dual-degree program offered at Western plus the guaranteed offer of employment “puts graduates that much further ahead and gives them the ability to lead within our organization or any other. They’re ready to hit the ground running when they come in,” she said.
“This generous gift enables Western to support some of our best female students,” said Western president Amit Chakma. “It provides an unparalleled opportunity for academic growth and offers these future leaders an experience that, thanks to Linamar and the Hasenfratz and Newton families, will give them a stepping-stone to rewarding careers.”
Linda, a Western alumna, holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s of Business Administration from the Ivey Business School. As well, three of her four children attend Western, including her two oldest daughters who are taking a similar path in completing the engineering and business dual degree program that the newly-established scholarships support.
Frank received an honorary degree from Western in 2016 and is a member of the Order of Canada. A Hungarian immigrant, he started Linamar in 1964 from the basement of his home. Now, the Guelph, Ont.-based auto-parts manufacturer employs more than 25,000 people in 59 manufacturing facilities in 15 countries, and generates annual sales in excess of $6 billion.
“Linda and her family have learned the business from the inside-out and from the shop floor to the boardroom. They are living examples of how to do advanced manufacturing well, how to grow an enterprise and how to lead the world,” said Chakma.